- The Washington Times - Friday, June 18, 2021

The U.S. Olympic track and field trials begin on Friday at the University of Oregon’s Hayward Field and will run through June 27. Here’s what you need to know about this year’s event:

Who makes the team?

Qualifying for the U.S. Olympic track and field team is simple: The top three finishers from each event’s final advance to Tokyo, as long as they meet the Olympic minimum time as well.

It’s uncommon for U.S. athletes to not hit the Olympic standard, since a handful of the qualifying times to enter the trials are the same as the Olympic times (women’s 100-meter dash, 200-meter dash and 400-meter dash; men’s 100-meter dash and 200-meter dash).

Each event also offers a cash prize, with the winner taking home $10,000, $8,000 for second place, $6,000 for third place, $4,000 for fourth, $3,000 for fifth, $2,000 for sixth and $1,000 for seventh and eight places.

Who is worth watching?

Allyson Felix is attempting to qualify for her fifth Olympic team, competing in the 200-meter and 400-meter dashes at the trials. The six-time gold medalist is also in contention to grab a relay spot at the Tokyo Games after winning three Olympic gold medals in the 4x400-meter relay and two in the 4x100-meter relay in her career.

Sha’Carri Richardson is looking to make her first Olympic team after turning professional, following her lone year in the college ranks at LSU, winning the 2019 NCAA Outdoor 100-meter dash championship.

The Dallas native holds the fastest times by an American woman this year in the 100-meter dash (10.72 seconds) and 200-meter dash (22 seconds).

Grant Holloway, the world record holder in the 60-meter hurdles, is looking to make his Olympic debut in Tokyo. He also won the 110-meter hurdles world championship in 2019.

The Chesapeake, Va., native starred at the University of Florida, winning three straight indoor and outdoor NCAA titles in the 60-meter and 110-meter hurdles. Holloway is the NCAA record holder in the two events as well.

Matthew Centrowitz has been a staple in distance events for the U.S., appearing in every international championship team since 2011. He’s the defending 1,500-meter Gold Medal winner from Rio, the first American to win the event since 1908.

Notable absences

Shelby Houlihan will not be able to compete at the Olympic trials after receiving word of a positive test for an anabolic steroid. The Olympic Committee will recognize the four-year ban she was given by the Athletics Integrity Unit, forcing her to miss the Tokyo Games and the 2024 Olympics.

Houlihan had been slated to compete in the 1,500-meter and 5,000-meter events at the trials.

Another American distance runner who will not compete at the trials is Molly Huddle, the American record holder in the 10,000-meter run. She was scratched from the event on Monday as she battles hip and ankle injuries, according to Runner’s World.

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